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June 1, 2013

BP Unfiltered

A Homer Announcer's Guide to Calling a Plunking

by Zachary Levine

After the Tigers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning this afternoon Jason Hammel hit Matt Tuiasosopo with a high breaking ball on the first pitch of the subsequent at-bat and Hammel was ejected.

It's something we've seen plenty of times, but if you were new to baseball, don't worry. The color commentators were there to explain to you exactly what happened.

Below are the transcripts from both broadcasts, isolating only the color commentator or commentators. They go from the time of the plunking until the broadcasts went to commercial. Links are with them, but try to guess which broadcast is which. It might be tougher than you think.

(It is not tougher than you think.)

Broadcast 1

Let's take a look at the pitch on the Pitch Track. It's a breaking ball. It's a slider. It gets away from Jason Hammel; we've seen him lose some pitches to the arm side. That's why Jason Hammel is so upset. And that's why Tuiasosopo isn't that upset about it. I mean you would expect maybe a brushback pitch, but this is a slider that he just lets go of too soon and catches it in the shoulder. That's why Buck Showalter is so upset. You see Jason Hammel showing his disgust in that call.
...
He predetermined this call. I think it's a terrible call because the Baltimore Orioles don't play that type of ballgame and Jason Hammel isn't that type of pitcher. This is a slider that gets away; you see Matt Wieters setting up down and away. Matt Wieters immediately saying "what are you doing here." And you see Buck Showalter - his face is beet red. It just does not make sense for him to just jump out and make that call. If it's a fastball and he squares him up in the middle of the back, hey maybe, but a slider, hey, terrible call.

Broadcast 2

No doubt. That's weak on Hammel's part. You've just given up three straight homers and you're going to argue this? Weak. He came up and in on Tuiasosopo.
...
He's lucky Tuiasosopo didn't go out there and get him as big as Tui is.
...
(mockingly) It was just an accident, really.
...
It did look like a breaking ball, though, but you can still get your point made with a breaking ball. It doesn't have to be a fastball to send your message.

And now you know how it really happened.

Zachary Levine is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zachary's other articles. You can contact Zachary by clicking here

Related Content:  Orioles,  Tigers,  Jason Hammel,  Matt Tuiasosopo

5 comments have been left for this article.

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